Heraklion, Crete: A short walk along the harbor brought us to the local bus station for a bus to Knossos. Parts of the ancient city date back to the 6th century BC and, like many ruins, it’s possible to wander around and see how the structures and infrastructure might have once been. Heraklion itself is a pleasant city with nice pedestrian areas.
Rhodes: Our first foray to the Greek islands was via Rhodes – 35 years ago! Of course, this walled city with cobbled alleys has not changed! We wandered the perimeter of the city walls and criss-crossed back and forth within – frequently getting disoriented and retracing our steps! Cats of all colors and sizes abound and are a constant source of amusement.
Paphos, Cyprus: The second largest city in Cyprus and we docked in the new port which meant we needed to take a bus to town. For some reason this city was not that appealing to me – especially after the charm of Rhodes. We contemplated renting a car and driving into the countryside, but then – lo! as we stepped outside the port there was a small tour bus being organized for a trip to Paphos via Kourion and other sights (all for a much reduced rate to the ship’s shore excursions!) The day ended up being very interesting and fun. Stops included a castle from the crusades, a ride along the coast to the birthplace of Aphrodite in a beautiful setting. Myth has it that if you find a heart-shaped stone on the beach, good luck and a good life will be with you. Onward to Paphos with a stop at the 4th century Basilica of Chrysopolitissa which has been a place of Christian worship from then until now. Lunch and a beer on the promenade in Paphos rounded out the day!